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Old 24 Jan 2001, 17:04 (Ref:60116)   #1
TimD
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TimD should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridTimD should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridTimD should be qualifying in the top 3 on the grid
Inspired by the happy thought of the Lagonda V12 sports car which Marshal saw being rebuilt this week, an interesting thought strikes me.

There are many cars currently running in Historic racing catgories that are far more successful than they have a right to be. Last year, the post-war E-Type ERA won its first ever race - 52 years after it was built. For many years, the joke in the VSCC was that it was totally as original, and thus guaranteed to break after three laps.

Having seen the Tec-Mec Maserati catch out Tony Merrick with its definitively evil handling last year at Donington, there are obviously still plenty of cars which remain gloriously unsorted, but the question remains - if the builders of certain cars had had the time and the resources, could racing history have been dramatically changed?

If that ERA had been successful, would we have had the BRM as the only British industry effort in early fifties F1?

Gerry Marshall could take an Aston Martin DBR1 and frighten a Ferrari Dino with it. Could a properly sorted Aston have altered the results of the 1958-60 world championships?

And who ever heard of a Lotus 16 winning when it was new? And yet they are some of the quickest cars in historic racing today. Is it just possible that Colin Chapman could have trounced John Cooper's "funny" rear-engined designs, and thus postponed the shift from front engined machines which happened in 1959?

What do you reckon?
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Old 24 Jan 2001, 20:10 (Ref:60169)   #2
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You do have a valid point there, am I right in saying that the F1 Scarab that raced in the 1950's was originally biult with a part of the engine well out of tolerance. This was only found by accident during a recent rebuild. It seemed to go pretty well at Goodwood, suitably rebuilt.

Maybe modern tools and products can help, tyres have come on a long way for instance. It could be that the modern methods suit some cars more than others. I know that the various authorities try to minimise the effect but we now have a lot of thing available that were not there at the time.

A good example is the film Apollo 13, seeing them work work it all out with a pencil and paper whereas nowdays we use a solar powered pocket calculater. This film was based on events, within living memory, in the 1960's, no computers, no calculators just a good brain, sharp pencil and a slide rule. When was the last time you done a long division ??? How many silly errors or a blunt pencil caused a crash or breakdown ???


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Old 25 Jan 2001, 07:23 (Ref:60245)   #3
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Its not meant to recreate racing history. Its meant to be racing in its own right. We can't expect the cars to be exactly as they were, otherwise we'd all be running Ferraris, Lotus' and Coopers. Instead we take the car which is available, develop it in accordance with the regs and put it on the track.

If we take your argument Tim we'd never have the pleasure of seeing a Lancia D50 or a sharknose Ferrari would we?

Mind you. An ERA winning?????
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Old 25 Jan 2001, 08:08 (Ref:60247)   #4
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TimD should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridTimD should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridTimD should be qualifying in the top 3 on the grid
Don't worry, Pete - I'm not running it down. It intrigues me, though, that there were a great number of cars whose design teams obviously didn't find their true potential when they were built.

Perhaps, like Chapman, they were pushing the envelope a bit with the stamina of their cars. Who was it who said that a Lotus should cross the line in first place, and then fall apart - anything more and it was excessively strong for the job.

Well, Bruce Halford and others have been running competitive Lotus 16s for more than two decades, so I guess that's one aspect of Chapman philosophy that's been consigned to the out tray.

And I was wondering if much of the improvement in some cars' form is simply down to someone having the opportunity for a bit of calm reflection - a luxury no-one could afford in the hubbub of a competition season.

By the way, I must correct my own deliberate mistake. Gerry Marshall's single-seater Aston was of course the DBR4. The DBR1 was quite successful enough out of the box, as the 1959 World Sportscar Championship will testify. But when they put the same engine in a monoposto DBR4?

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear...
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Old 25 Jan 2001, 13:20 (Ref:60298)   #5
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Tim, I think it was Ferdinand Porsche who said the ideal racing car was a car that reached the line in first place and then fell aprt after the finish line.
Interesting point about the unrealised potential of these cars. How different things could have been. Take the philosophy further and think what a difference to the world of motorsport the Benz tropfenwagen or Voisin would have made had they had a decent engine in them.
Isn't it strange that the sportscar builders (Scarab and Aston Martin) made a mess of their F1 cars.
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Old 26 Jan 2001, 14:24 (Ref:60428)   #6
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Perhaps a Lotus 16 can win nowerdays as it is only running in 10-15 lap sprints - not 200 mile plus Grand Prix races...
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Old 28 Jan 2001, 18:13 (Ref:60829)   #7
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Marshal should be qualifying in the top 5 on the gridMarshal should be qualifying in the top 5 on the grid
I have to agree with flagman here, not only are they running for 25 miles not 200, but Silverstone club is a bit less demanding on the car than the Nordschlief Nurburgring. And even only running 10 laps Lotus 16 aren't that reliable!

Back to the original topic though, fasion has a big part to play in what succeeds and what doesn't, if you aren't immediately quick, then its easier to copy something that is rather than work out why you aren't.
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Old 29 Mar 2001, 00:36 (Ref:75137)   #8
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Originally posted by TimD
Who was it who said that a Lotus should cross the line in first place, and then fall apart - anything more and it was excessively strong for the job.
Nobody... nobody at all. The quote was from Laurence Pomeroy (Senior) and dated back to before Lotus was a glimmer in Chapman's eye...

But what about Spa, 1958? Wasn't that the race Graham Hill nearly won, and was it in the 16... or, perhaps, the 12?

and for angst... if you had seen the 1960 Australian GP you wouldn't have thought that of the Aston!
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